Mexican drug cartels account for an astounding amount of violent crime, and now for the first time since these southern U.S. states have legalized cannabis there is data to show that legalizing cannabis actually decreases violence. Ontop of taking money from the cartels and putting taxes towards positive government projects, legal cannabis is also proving to literally reduce violent crimes allover states bordering Mexico. On average each bordering state saw a 13% reduction in violent crime, with robberies falling by 19%, and homicides related to the drug trade dropped a hugely significant 41%. As many advocates have been saying for years, by regulating cannabis we are not only taking money from cartels and giving it to the government, but reducing the crimes that are associated with the illegal drug trade.
Gavrilova, along with fellow researchers Takuma Kamada and Floris Zoutman, studied data from the FBI’s uniform crime reports and supplementary homicide records covering 1994 to 2012. They found that among the border states the effect of the change in law was largest in California, where there was a reduction of 15% in violent crime, and weakest in Arizona, where there was a fall of 7%. The crimes most strongly affected were robbery, which fell by 19%, and murder, which dropped by 10%. Homicides specifically related to the drug trade fell by an astonishing 41%.
“When the effect on crime is so significant, it’s obviously better to regulate marijuana and allow people to pay taxes on it rather than make it illegal,” Gavrilova said. “For me it’s a no brainer that it should be legal and should be regulated, and the proceeds go to the Treasury.”